Today’s devotional comes from a Biblical soap opera. In this real-life account, we meet a woman of the Old Testament who does just the opposite of yesterday’s sisters. This woman has a chance to move up in the world but goes to great lengths to see that position goes to a male instead.
The full story can be found in 2 Kings 11 and repeated in 2 Chronicles 22-24, and quite honestly reads a little bit like a Shakespearean play.
Joash—one-year old male
Ahaziah—8th king of the Northern Kingdom and father to Joash, and son of Athaliah
Jehosheba—sister to Ahaziah, aunt to Joash
Jehoiada—husband to Jehosheba and uncle to Joash
Athaliah—mother of Ahaziah and grandmother of Joash
SCENE ONE: King Ahaziah is killed and seeing that her son has died, Athaliah proceeds to wipe out the entire royal family including her grandsons. Aunt Jehosheba grabs her one-year old nephew Joash and hides him away for safety. Grandma rules the land.
2 Kings 11: 1-3 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so, he was not killed.3 He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.
SCENE TWO: After 6 years of rule under Athaliah, Jehosheba’s husband (Uncle Jehoiada) leads a well-planned takeover and Joash is rightly crowned king. Shouts of ‘treason’ fill the air, but Grandma/ruler Athaliah is put to death and 7-year-old Joash is now king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
2 Kings 11:12-16 Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!” 13 When Athaliah heard the noise made by the guards and the people, she went to the people at the temple of the Lord. 14 She looked and there was the king, standing by the pillar, as the custom was. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her robes and called out, “Treason! Treason! Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be put to death in the temple of the Lord.” 16 So they seized her as she reached the place where the horses enter the palace grounds, and there she was put to death.
SCENE THREE: The rightful heir is on the throne, and for the first part of his reign, does good in the eyes of the Lord, including pulling down the temples and altars to Baal.
Our woman of the Old Testament is Princess Jehosheba, daughter of a King and sister to a king. When her brother is killed and the whole royal family is to be murdered, rather than protect herself, she puts her life at risk to save her one-year-old nephew. She recognizes that although she could now fight or wait for a claim to the throne, it rightfully belongs to the line of another and she puts her own dreams or success aside. She chooses to follow God’s plan for Israel rather than seeking prosperity and advance for herself. Despite the danger, she secretly raises her nephew in the temple, preparing for the day when he can be re-established as the rightful heir to the throne.
Yesterday we looked at 5 women who boldly asked God for what was rightfully theirs. Today we look at Princess Jehosheba who boldly submits to God’s plan rather than taking what could easily (but not rightly) be hers. What do these women have in common? To borrow a statement from another, they followed God’s plan over the world’s narrative.
The world’s narrative preaches a version of morality where every man is a law unto himself; everything is acceptable as long as it is about love and an embracing of diversity. God’s Word sets forth many rights and wrongs with reference to morality, and He expects us to follow these tenants unswervingly. The world’s narrative says, ‘Stand up for your rights. Fight for choice.’ God’s Word says, ‘My choice is to be your choice. I know best.’ The world’s narrative tells us all love is good, your happiness is what matters, and if you are doing it right you will be healthy, wealthy and wise.’ God’s Word says, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love,’ ‘my wisdom is foolishness to the world,’ and ‘be careful to do everything written in it [Bible]; then you will be prosperous and successful.’
One day soon even the church will be required to choose. And when that battle comes, will we stand on the Word of God and follow Him, or will we look at the ease and advantages and choose the world’s narrative? It may be about tithing and tax receipts. It may be about when and how we can meet together. It may be lenient requirements for leaders and Pastors that conflict with the guidelines set forth in the Scriptures. It may come disguised as love and we may be challenged to search the Scriptures to see what our stand, in love, needs to be. Regardless of which war it is, let us pray we have the courage and bravery of Princess Jehosheba to choose God’s plan first when the battle is on our doorstep.